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SFU greets record freshman class

September 4, 2008

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Organizers were expecting a large turnout this week (Sept. 2-5) for SFU’s annual Week of Welcome (WoW) following an eventful freshman orientation week as both returning students and the university’s largest-ever first-year class began the fall semester.

This week’s WoW festivities for new and returning students at SFU’s three campuses include a giant scrabble game, club fairs, barbeques, inflatable games and carnival activities that include a dunk tank.

More than 2,700 students took part in the orientation activities last week at the Burnaby and Surrey campuses, says student life coordinator Liesl Jurock. "We had record numbers this year across all our programs."

The unprecedented turnout was due in part to increased enrolment. As of Aug. 28, 5,465 students had registered for first year, well ahead of the university’s target of 4,889 and significantly more than last year’s 5,169 first-year students. These numbers included a large increase in international students – up from 406 last year to 616 this year.

But Jurock says students are also attracted to orientation and WoW because they understand the benefit of being part of the university community.

"More and more students opt to take part because they realize they’ll meet new friends, and new students particularly will save hours of time by learning where everything is and figuring out how SFU works."

Orientation participants got to partake in a drumming café, campus tours, a 30-minute icebreaker where students tried to meet as many other students as possible, and informative sessions from their faculty, university services and senior students.

For students moving into residence, there were even more benefits, says Jurock. SFU Clan football players were on hand to help students tote their belongings into their new rooms, and a luau dance and a hypnotist completed the week’s festivities.
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